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CHRISTMAS

Recipe: Three seasonal twists on classic Bavarian Kipferl cookies

Originally created in Vienna, Kipferl is also the specialty cookie of the Bavarian town, Nördlingen.

Recipe: Three seasonal twists on classic Bavarian Kipferl cookies
Credit: Lora Wiley-Lennartz

Vanilla is the classic Kipferl flavor. However, the recipe lends itself to creative variations.

The most time-consuming part of creating these cookies is shaping them. Make it go faster with a Kipferl party. Get your friends or family together for an evening of gemütlichkeit, shaping and baking cookies while drinking Glühwein or hot chocolate.

Matcha Pomegranate Kipferl Recipe

A green tea scented cookie spiked with tart pomegranate flavor. Substitute dried cranberries for the pomegranate seeds.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Bake Time: 8 Minutes

Yield: 8 Dozen

Credit: Lora Wiley-Lennartz

Ingredients:

    •    210g   all-purpose flour

    •    90g     almond flour

    •    60g      powdered sugar

    •    1 T       matcha powder

    •    1/2 t     salt

    •    113g    unsalted butter

    •    90g      dried pomegranate seeds

For the coating:

    •    30g        powdered sugar

Instructions:

    •    Preheat oven to 178 degrees C. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

    •    Whisk together the all-purpose flour, almond flour, powdered sugar, matcha powder, and salt.

    •    In a mixer, cream the butter.

    •    Turn down to low speed and slowly add the dry ingredients.

    •    Add dried pomegranate seeds.

    •    On a lightly floured work surface, use both palms to roll portions of the dough out into a long rope about an index finger thick. Divide the rope into 2+1/2 inch pieces.

    •    Place each piece on a baking sheet, bending the piece into a crescent shape. Pinch the ends.

    •    Bake 8-10 minutes.

    •    Immediately sprinkle with powdered sugar.

    •    Plate and serve.

 

Orange Cardamom Hazelnut Kipferl Recipe

Traditional almond flour is replaced with hazelnut. Ground cardamom and freshly grated orange zest are fragrant additions.

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Bake time: 15 minutes

Chill Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 6 dozen cookies

Credit: Lora Wiley-Lennartz

Ingredients:

For the cookies:

    •    1210g      all-purpose flour

    •    200g        hazelnut flour

    •    60g          powdered sugar

    •    1/4 t         baking powder

    •    2 t            ground cardamom

    •    1/2 t         ground cinnamon

    •    2 t            fresh grated orange zest

    •    1/2 t         vanilla extract

    •    1 t            orange extract

    •    200g        cold butter, cut into small pieces

    •    1              egg

For the Coating:

    •    3 T   powdered sugar

    •    1/2 t cardamom powder

    •    2 t    fresh grated orange zest

Directions:

    •    Make the dough:

    •    Whisk together the flour, hazelnut flour, powdered sugar, baking powder, cardamom, and cinnamon

    •    Mix in the orange zest and extracts.

    •    Add butter pieces and knead together. Knead in the egg.

    •    Wrap dough in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

    •    Preheat oven to 178 degrees C. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

    •    Place dough on a lightly floured work surface. Use both palms to roll portions of dough into a long rope about an index finger thick.

    •    Divide rope into 2-inch pieces. Place each piece on a baking sheet. Bend to form a crescent shape. Pinch each end  to form a point.

    •    Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes.

    •    Whisk together powdered sugar, cardamom powder, and orange zest.

    •    Remove Kipferl from oven. Roll each in cinnamon powdered sugar mixture. Serve.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Kipferl Recipe

Pumpkin purée adds seasonal flavor to this cinnamon spiked Kipferl.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Bake Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 4 dozen cookies

Credit: Lora Wiley-Lennartz

Ingredients:

    •    210g  flour

    •    60g    powdered sugar

    •    1/2 t   salt

    •    90g    almond flour

    •    113g  unsalted butter

    •    1 t      vanilla extract.

    •    113g  pumpkin puree

For the Coating:

    •    60g  powdered sugar

    •    1 T  ground cinnamon

Directions:

    •    Preheat oven to 178 degrees C, Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

    •    Whisk together all-purpose flour, powdered sugar, salt, and almond meal.

    •    In a mixer, cream together butter and vanilla.

    •    Add pumpkin puree and combine.

    •    Turn the mixer down to low speed. Slowly add dry ingredients.

    •    Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Use both palms to roll portions of the dough out into long ropes about an index finger thick.

    •    Divide each rope into 2-inch pieces. Place each piece on the baking sheet. Bend to form a crescent shape. Pinch ends to form a point.

    •    Bake the cookies for 15 minutes.

    •    Whisk together the powdered sugar and ground cinnamon.

    •    Remove from the oven. Roll each cookie in the cinnamon powdered sugar mixture. Serve.

Lora Wiley-Lennartz is an Emmy nominated television producer and a food/destination blogger who splits her time between Germany and New York City. Read her blog Diary of a Mad Hausfrau or follow her on Facebook for traditional German recipes with a twist.

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CHRISTMAS

How do Germans celebrate Christmas?

Christmas is getting into full swing in Germany (and many places around the world) - here's are some treasured German traditions.

Christmas decorations in Hamburg.
Christmas decorations in Hamburg. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Marcus Brandt

December 24th: Heiligabend, Christmas Eve

As is the case across most of Western Europe, Germany’s main day of celebration for Christmas is the 24th, the so-called “Heiligabend”.

In the morning of the 24th, the Christmas tree is put up and decorated, and in the evening, children get to open their presents.

Shops usually close earlier on this day, and businesses shut for the whole day or a half day. 

However, while Christmas Eve is the main event of the German Christmas calendar, the 25th and 26th are still designated “Feiertage” (celebration days/holidays) with their own festive traditions. 

Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Hauke-Christian Dittrich

December 25th: Der erste Feiertag/Weihnachtstag, the First Christmas Day

The day after the big present opening is usually more family-centered and a lot quieter – especially as all the shops will be closed.

Many of the Catholic and Protestant faith use Christmas Day to go to church for a festive service, and most in Germany will have a big, lavish feast. The dinner often features the classic Christmas goose with potato dumplings and red cabbage, but others opt for a raclette fondue.

The main meal taking place on this day is due to the tradition of fasting from St. Martin’s Day in November until Christmas Eve, where a simple meal such as potato salad or carp is served. 

READ ALSO: The food and drink you need for a German Christmas feast

A classic German Christmas meal of potato salad, sausages and gherkins.
A classic German Christmas meal of potato salad, sausages and gherkins. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-tmn | Christin Klose

December 26th: Der zweite Feiertag/Weihnachtstag, the Second Christmas Day

Known as Boxing Day in English-speaking countries, this final festive day is often marked as a day of reflection of the past year and the new year to come – it is also a public holiday in Germany meaning all the shops will still be closed. However, an exciting and unique custom begins on this day. 

Christbaumloben

Christmas tree praising is a fabulous tradition in southern Germany, specifically southern Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, where visitors come to your home to admire and compliment your tree, usually with a reward of one (but probably a few more) glasses of schnapps.

Because Christmas trees are traditionally put up on Christmas Eve in Germany (at least traditionally), the praising of the Christmas tree occurs during the period “zwischen den Jahren”, or between the years, meaning the period between Christmas and New Year.

READ ALSO: German word of the day – der Weihnachtsbaumschmuck

While this tradition can happen between neighbours – and can be a great way to get to know your community – it is often a feature of a group; for example, the staff of a small business or members of a football team will go to each individual’s house to praise their Christmas trees one by one.

The praising can sometimes take an entire day and can end up quite merry. It can also get pretty competitive, with the most lavish, over the top tree being hailed the winner and given a special prize (most likely also in the form of a festive beverage).

As we are still in a pandemic this activity may have to be scaled back, but could happen in small groups. 

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